Inaugurated in 2019, the Ramalde Skate Park had a new intervention, with the aim of increasing its area and providing the space with new technical facilities for the practice of the sport. An investment of around 300 thousand euros, 140 thousand euros applied now, and other 150 thousand euros invested in the initial construction. The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, visited the facilities this Saturday morning.
Two years after its inauguration (in November 2019), the Ramalde Skate Park is now experiencing a significant expansion in size. Integrated in the Ramalde Sports Park, the initial space, with a 950 square meters area, now has its area increased with another 600 square meters, thus making a total of 1550 square meters. In this second part of the project, areas with renovated benches and litter bins were also created, and the lighting was reinforced.
“When we concluded the first phase [of construction] it was an immediate success, with thousands of people playing sports. Therefore, we decided to go on with these expansion works, allowing the population to enjoy this area and all its surroundings”, stated Rui Moreira at the end of the visit, which was also attended by councilwoman for Sports and Youth, Catarina Araújo, as well as other members of the councillor’s team.
Just as with the construction of the first phase, the expansion project of Ramalde Skate Park is also signed by the architect and skater Francisco Lopez, best known as “França”, one of the main experts in this area with signature in several parks in the country. In fact, in this particular project, the skaters’ opinion was taken into account, and their contribution was essential for the final design of the “big pool”.
“There is a very good relationship with the neighbours and this community. People like to see movement day and night. It has been a full integration of a space that was abandoned”, highlighted Porto mayor.
Prediction of a Playground Building
But the works will not stop at Parque Desportivo de Ramalde. According to Rui Moreira, “the construction of a Playground is planned, for the benefit of the local population, and we are waiting, with INATEL, to make a city stadium, with all the multiple valences.
With the aim of increasing and benefiting the existing offer, a new area has now been created, called flow bowl, dedicated to the ramp section, one of the favourite obstacles for these athletes. This new infrastructure offers all the conditions to host competitions of the most diverse technical levels, from the beginner level to professional, both regional and national, also allowing for the practice of other categories such as inline skating and Freestyle BMX.
200 athletes per day
The Skate Park extension works pleased Pacal and Madu, two young skaters who dream of one day becoming professionals and go to the Olympic Games. They practice every day to make their dreams come true. “This new zone is very good”, acknowledges 10-year-old Pacal, and already national champion sub-12. Madu, 13 years old, with seven years of practice, values the zone: “It’s close to home, it’s in my city, where I can practice and evolve”.
Madu is also national sub-16 champion and reached the top 3 of seniors last season. In addition to them, Matilde under 12 and Rafaela Costa, under 16, national athletes, also came from the Skate Park.
The figures from the Portuguese Skating Federation are clear: skateboarding was the sport with the greatest demand and development in Portuguese schools in 2020, representing a growth of 20 to 25 percent of new practitioners per month. It is estimated, moreover, that in Portugal there are currently around 80,000 active skaters and another 20 million worldwide. On average, around 200 practitioners pass through the Ramalde Skate Park daily.
“Obviously, these are numbers that fill us with pride, showing that the current Skate Park has had a strong dynamic since its opening”, assumed the councilwoman and president of the board of the municipal company Ágora – Cultura e Desporto do Porto, Catarina Araújo.
The responsible also added that “this autarchy investment exceeds all the expectations. It is a piece of equipment that has been sought after and desired by the community for a long time, and it is now ready for the community to practice and evolve”.
“They love the new bowl”
Ricardo Soares is the father of two skaters, aged 6 and 11, who attend regular classes. For him, the existence of a sports facility like this is “unique, because it is located in a well-kept area with available infrastructure, such as public bathrooms and, above all, because of the availability of monitoring by several teachers” , he recognizes.
He praises the expansion of the space and the diversity of experiences that this work gave the students. “My children were very excited with what already existed and now they love the new bowl. This is, by far, the biggest news of this (more equipped) version of the Skate Park.
These children (and parents) excitement has, after all, a clear explanation: “It’s an excellent modality, with lots of benefits, practiced outdoors and that allows for the development of a very good spirit of inclusion. It places the city of Porto in the forefront of this kind of initiative and stands out from the rest. For the younger ones is without question a great opportunity”, admits Ricardo Soares.
Space improvements and news
For the past two years, Ramalde Skate Park had almost five thousand enrolments in classes and other programmed activities, and more than one thousand athletes or curious passers-by that visit and enjoy this place in the years 2020 and 2021.
Nuno Gaia is a skateboarding teacher and recognizes that the expansion of the space, undertaken by the municipal company GO Porto - Gestão e Obras do Porto, provides new potential and features. In addition, it will allow teachers “to teach more effectively some maneuvers to students who are new to the modality, since it has easier access obstacles”.
With regard to more advanced students, “and in the bowl, they can also experience another aspect of skateboarding other than street, which was what the first phase that the Skate Park offered”, he says.
“And because skateboarding is an Olympic sport (since the last edition of the Games, in Tokyo), this investment makes perfect sense, since the number of skaters existing in Porto and surroundings is quite large”, concludes this athlete, looking forward to experience these new structures designed for sport improvement.